**Reserved for RyColaa Scanlations
(left-hand side): A story with endless depth…!!!!! Volumes 1-5 on sale now!!!
(right-hand side): Watch Harold Sakuishi draw a page of Rin on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAzTURD6sBo
Ummmm, my ticket….
Where’s my ticket…
I looked up a lot of stuff on the ‘Net, so allow me to explain!
The Kou-no-Mori Festival happens once every seven years.
It takes place over three days in the eleventh month of the old Japanese calendar.
Way back when, Mt. Koujin, or The Mountain of the Wild Gods, was the object of faith itself.
Within are multiple holy grounds from which not a single branch nor pebble nor blade of grass can be removed.
What would happen if you did take something?
You’d be cursed, of course!
Well, I don’t really know.
Stop it, Nishiguchi-san!!
But aren’t you interested in divine territory you’re normally forbidden from entering?
Nishiguchi-san, could you keep your eyes on the road?
So, you’re saying people are allowed in only once every seven years?
As sharp as ever, Taki-kun!
Nishiguchi-san, look out!!
/ Th—that was a bad omen.
the point of the festival is to invite the wild gods to our hearths and offer them grand hospitality!
Look. You can see Ishidou-san’s island from here.
Wow. It’s bigger than I thought!
Nishiguchi-san, eyes forwards! Forwards!
I know! You might not think it, but I don’t have a single point on my license.
Because you never drive, right?
/ Didn’t you put the car into reverse at that last stoplight?
OK, on the other side of this bridge is the island where the wild gods await.
What’s going on?
I’m going to a festival,
but I’m so nervous, I kind of want to turn right around….
Long time no see, Nishigaitsu-sensei.
Argh. I got so sick of waiting.
I’ve been pumped since this morning.
Well, once we made it to the island, the roads got so narrow and it was really tiring.
We almost had a head-on collision not once, but three times.
So, once we get your bags to the inn, let’s go explore the island!
They’ve already opened up the forest!
[inset]: One, two, three
Are there portable shrines? Or street stalls?
It doesn’t really feel like a festival, does it?
I get the feeling the Kou-no-Mori Festival isn’t like that.
It’s more solemn and pristine.
Everybody, you really came!
Were you surprised with just how rural this place is?
Long time no see!
I didn’t think you were coming, Fushimi-kun.
I’m glad you did.
I thought you weren’t coming, either.
You have a change of heart, or something?
No, not a change of heart insomuch as…
I can’t really explain it myself…
This is a really critical time for me—I should be drawing a manga for the Young Blue Cup—and yet….
[inset]: So, let’s go to the spot with all the mystical energy!
[inset]: Let’s go!
[left sign]: Yakisoba
[right sign]: Crepes
[sign]: Philly Cheesesteak
There sure are a ton o’ people ‘ere.
Them folks what got a job off the island done come back, too.
And I heard every inn ‘round these parts is packed full o’ tourists.
Usually we just get a guy now and then who’s here to fish.
Junki, Shuuhei, come get somethin’ to eat.
Nao-chan, y’sure that’s all right?
Ain’t your folks one o’ the ancient families what’s in charge o’ the festival?
It’s fine, it’s fine.
We’ve been fixin’ up the roads and mowin’ the grass since ten days ‘fore the festival.
They’ve been workin’ me to the bone.
My favorite jersey done got caught on a rotted tree, too, and now it’s got a hole in it.
[inset]: Shit, what a hassle.
And my grandma’s spendin’ the day helpin’ make offerings and food.
Ain’t rice cakes and fish good enough?
I’d like to eat some o’ that cutlet and curry with cheese on top myself.
[inset]: Let’s go.
Long time no see, Naomichi.
The old man won’t shut up about how the whole family’s s’pposed to be together durin’ the festival.
So here I am, back fer the first time in three years.
This is Mt. Koujin?
It looks more normal than I expected.
It stopped raining.
Darn, everyone’s done got sad.
They were prob’ly expectin’ somthin’ like Machu Pichu.
It rises about 250 meters above sea level… That really isn’t that high.
There was once a time where Mt. Koujin itself was considered the mountain of the gods.
The objects of faith in the Kou-no-Mori Festival still remain from ages past.
You could even consider it a key ritual on a national level.
Allow me to introduce you. This guy’s staying at the same inn as us. His name’s…
Uh, what was it?
There are three places considered holy ground.
Each of them is prepared for the festival by an ancient family placed in charge.
Nishigaitsu-sensei, who is that guy?
He keeps explaining things, even though we never asked him to…
I dunno… When I got to the inn this morning, he apparently knew me and just started talking.
I bet he studies folklore, or he’s an archaeologist, or something.
So, the first holy ground is nearby.
I feel like I’ve seen this place somewhere before….
[inset]: Huff x2
Indeed. The shintai
on this holy ground is a tree!
One can find arbors and old trees all over the country worshiped as gods.
The people of this region call it “Matagi-san.”
We’ve walked really far, huh.
I’m so tired…..
“Matagi”—meaning “Forked Tree”?
Professor, if you would like, here.
You may not consume food or beverage on this holy ground.
I shall drink it later.
When I spoke to the Wadas, who care for this tree…
they told me that, should a man with a foul heart walk near, Matagi-san will transform into a two-headed snake and devour him.
Kinda makes you nervous, huh.
What was it? “Not a single branch nor pebble nor blade of grass can be removed”?
May my works sell even better.
OK, let us head to the next holy ground.
Rin-chan, what’s wrong?!
I’m sorry. It looks like Rin-chan has a fever.
We’ll be heading down now.
Rin-chan, are you all right?
Call us when you get down.
We’ll be waiting.
I’m so sorry.
Fushimi-kun… Send me a pic of how it looks, OK?
The waterfall itself was deified,
/ in no small part due to the scarcity of water on this island.
Its name is “Otaki-san.”
May I meet someone young and hot.
By the way, the ancient family for this one is the Hirano family. They are also managing the inn at which we are staying.
Excuse me, Professor, could I please go to the bathroom?
The very idea of leaving fecal matter or bodily waste on this sacred ground is unfathomable.
I—Isn’t there a toilet somewh—
There are no toilets on this mountain!
You may avoid the holy ground and relieve yourself over there.
I—It’s a number 2…
Do you have any paper…?
The third Holy Ground is located at the base of the mountain.
Contain yourself until we arrive.
Taki-kun, let’s go.
I’m going to stay here for a little while longer.
I’ve always like waterfalls.
Hey, let’s hurry! A wave’s coming!
[box]: Brand-new Playstation
The heck is this?!
It ain’t movin’ one inch. This some kinda scam?!
Hand over the goods! I’ve already dropped a thousand yen on this!
[in the box]: Shooting Range
[next line]: Three shots for 100 yen
[next line]: Looking for challengers‼
Hahaha. Man, Bro, you ain’t changed a bit.
Nao-chan, I gotta start headin’ home.
Me too; I’ve gotta walk the dog.
Th—The heck? Y’all scared o’ my brother, or somethin’?!
W—We ain’t scared!
And to think he came all the way home.
Without y’all around, my brother’s disposition might start deterioratin’.
Hey mister, this is a fun festival.
So follow the rules and let’s all enjoy ourselves.
What do you mean, “huh”?
Ain’t that there Hiroki? Y’know, the Inui’s kid.
He done came back?
Damn…. I ain’t never seen a guy go down in one punch before.
And he did it twice…
Bro….. Pop’s gonna be pissed.
Who the heck do y’all think I am?
Don’t be underestimatin’ me, Inui Hiroki!
It is said that, long ago, there were far more holy grounds on Mt. Koujin.
Based on records from the Edo period, we can confirm there were at least seven deified locations, from trees to natural rock formations to small shrines.
And now, they’re lost.
Yes, thanks to the shrine consolidation during the Meiji period.
By the way, do all of you work in manga?
Nishi-chan, Taki-kun, and Fushimi-kun are all newcomers.
Phew! Thank goodness I made it in time.
The station food didn’t sit well with me, I guess….
So, let’s head towards the third holy ground.
Oh, Taki-kun, you caught up.
I have a feeling my luck skyrocketed today!
Are you saying that that small island is the third holy ground?
it is called Umihime Island, meaning “Sea Princess.”
But that has absolutely nothing to do with Mt. Koujin‼
Legend states that the gods of Mt. Koujin drifted in from sea,
and that they first arrived there, on Umihime Island.
May I be forever young.
They’re connected by a path of sand…..
The sandbar appears only for a brief period at low tide.
Really?! That’s so romantic‼
But normally, you’re absolutely not supposed to walk it.
If you walk, swim, or sail there,
they say you’ll be cursed.
Rin-chan, are you all right?
Yes, I am. I rested a little and took some medicine.
My late great-grandfather told me that,
long ago, ships sailing close by the island would lower their sails and the whole crew would start praying.
After the tree and the waterfall,
what’s the shintai
going to be this time?
Ain’t it the boulder?
Dunno. I haven’t the slightest.
It is apparently a giant stone called the Himeiwa, the Princess Boulder.
Umihime Island is called “The entranceway to the spirit realm.”
The ancient family here is the Inui family. They have great influence over this island.
Rin-chan, are you sensing something?
I don’t have a single good feeling about that place.
If possible, I’d rather not get any closer.
Oh, looks like the path’s disappeared.
The tide has already started to come in.
We shall cross over to Umihime Island tomorrow.
Who put you in charge?
[sign]: Hirano Inn
I went to the bookstore to buy your manga, but they weren’t sellin’ it!
“Youkai Jerks John and Punch.”
The clerk at the bookstore done told me he ain’t never even heard of it.
Haha……It has been out of print for five years.
And the magazine it was in went under.
Whaaat?! Higeta-san, you’re a manga artist?!
B—Based on your looks, I was sure you were an academic heretic in folklore or archaeology‼
Ohhhh! That’s why you recognized me!
Oh! I remember now!
During the summer of last year, didn’t you make a living working on Suzune Ryou-sensei’s “Citrus Voice”?
Huh? Were you there, too?
I was there briefly, observing.
I rushed there to help, after a referral from the editing department…..
There was a legendary man, whose eerie backgrounds ruined Suzune Ryou-sensei’s stylish line work,
who filled her stylish workplace with endless prattling about occult and ghost stories everyone else was sick of hearing….
and who, right before a deadline, spilled tons of coffee onto the finished manuscript before disappearing into the night…..
Until he came back just to pick up his paycheck.
Then he complained on Twitter about how little he was paid.
You bastard! You act all high-and-mighty, but you’re just a little prick‼
Everyone, if you’re interested, I could show you a spot with a beautiful view of the sunset.
My grandson tried to find a copy online, but he couldn’t even find a used one.
Right now, I’m just another artist bringing pitches to publishers.
But I am redoubling my efforts, and am traveling the country researching whatever my curiosity fancies.
By the way, Higeta-kun, how old are you?
That’s the same age as me, you pompous jerk‼
I was sure you were the same age as my father….
Don’t kick the bucket before you’ve submitted your storyboard.
You took a lot of pictures today, didn’t you, Taki-kun?
They might be useful for something someday.
What I experience and engrave into my bones will be the basis of my manga.
You really do talk differently about things, Taki-kun!
That’s a once-in-a-decade talent for you.
……..Well, no matter how many pictures I take,
I wouldn’t be able to use any of it in an erotic manga.
Should I really have come here, to this island?
Is that the shrine?
To think there’s a shrine atop Mt. Koujin…
This is the best spot ‘round about here to see the sunset.
[sign]: Kumano Shrine
A Kumano Shrine…..
Nothing; there’s just a Kumano Shrine in my neighborhood, too.
You can find them pretty much all over the place.
There’s tons just in Tokyo.
Hasn’t the Mitama
from the main shrine in Wakayama Prefecture spread to numerous shrines throughout Japan?
Long, long ago, when a drought ruined our harvest,
we were done saved from disaster with fish nets sent from Kishuu.
<TL/N: Kishuu was an ancient province that roughly corresponds to modern-day Wakayama Prefecture.>
I’d bet’cha the shrine was established then.
Well, I believe that was well after the establishment of the Kou-no-Mori Festival.
Wow! There’s the sign of the Yatagarasu here.
It’s super cute!
Emperor Jinmu was guided through the mountains by a Yatagarasu.
You should go to the festival.
Oh….. The one on Ishidou-san’s island?
I will tell you again.
Chase after the white rabbit,
and you will be able to pursue Sawamura Eichi!
What’s wrong, Fushimi-kun?
Oh, it’s nothing…
This is my first time coming to a place like this. It’s such a nice view.
Oh…. The path disappeared.
Oh, it’s nothing.
I feel like I saw Yassan somewhere, or something…..
What will I be able to learn on this island….?
[box]: To be continued in the June issue (On sale May 2nd.)